The debate over the conceptual constructs of landscape aesthetics, specifically whether landscape quality is inherently related to landscape physical characteristics or is subjectively “in the eye of the beholder,” has continued for years. Solutions accommodating both the biophysical and perceptual aspects of landscapes are thus desirable for landscape planners and policymakers. In response to policy shifts that emphasise both expert and public landscape perspectives, this study investigates the relationships between formal and informal landscape evaluations. It analyses crowdsourced data describing landscape aesthetic quality (Scenic-Or-Not) and authoritative landscape quality assessments (the Landscape Assessment Decision Making Process (LANDMAP) of Wales). Some agreement was found regarding landforms most likely to be perceived as scenic or unattractive by experts and non-experts, which aligns with previous landscape perception studies. However, contested landscape typologies are identified formal and informal landscape aesthetic evaluations are compared. Several limitations and implications for current formal landscape assessment paradigms (GIS based and vertical) are discussed and several approaches for capturing on-the-ground perceptions are suggested including recent extensions to GIS derived viewsheds (e.g., vertical voxel viewsheds).
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